Here are 7 free creativity tools to help you with your session. Two creativity tools to get prepared (essential, see our strategy training) and 5 tools to help you generate ideas. There are also lots of other free creativity tools in our blog with instructions how to use them include a user empathy map. Also see our trend section on how to use trends for your creative work.
Free creativity tools – number 1 – Be prepared!
One of the first steps in problem solving is getting prepared and understanding as much as you can about the problem. As Abraham Lincoln said: “If I had six hours to cut down a tree, I’d spend the first 4 sharpening the saw.”
Before you think about shouting “brainstorm room 1 in five minutes” you need to be clear what it is you’re trying to do. Ask yourself:
- What assumptions am I making?
- Do I have the right information? Enough? Too much? What’s important?
- Can you identify one central question? If you had to summarise your problem in one sentence what is it?
Free creativity tools – number 2 – “I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew). Their names are what and why and when and how and where and who.” Rudyard Kipling
Use the so-called Kipling questions (after his poem) to help analyse the situation:
- What is the problem?
- Why is it a problem?
- When is it a problem?
- How is it a problem?
- Where is it a problem?
- Who is it a problem for?
This should give you a really clear problem statement from which to start your creative process. Can you see the problem from a different perspective?
Free creativity tools – number 3 – I Need An Idea Now! Creatives wanted dead or alive!
Many creativity tools and techniques involve substitutions. Take on a different role & get a WHOLE new perspective. Ask yourself: What would Obama, Kermit, Justin Bieber, Mother Theresa or Lady GaGa do? Make them your Creative Director for the day. For an alternative perspective think about what would:
- A scientist do?
- A bratty 6 year old child do? A risk-taking entrepreneur do?
- A politician do?
- An explorer do?
- A judge?
- A private eye?
There’s a great article in Fast Company on the role of a Creative Director here.
Free creativity tools – number 4 – Random stimuli. Use this technique when you need to inject a bit of energy and fun into a session
“Creativity is just connecting things.” Steve Jobs
Use a variety of random stimuli to access a different part of the brain and create or explore random connections to arrive at fresh thinking. Have a variety of items. Either let people take an item randomly or have a selection of items for people to make their own connections. How is this item like our problem? What thoughts, feelings or ideas does this item give you? Explore issues metaphorically to enable people to gain insight into the attributes of a particular issue.